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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No. 12-22211-CIV-KING/TORRES

RAANAN KATZ,
Plaintiff,
vs.
IRINA CHEVALDINA,
Defendant.
___________________________________________/

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
This matter is before the Court pursuant to Defendant Irina Chevaldina’s
(“Defendant”) Verified Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Non-Taxable Costs. [D.E. 177].
After due consideration of the Motion, Plaintiff Raanan Katz’s (“Plaintiff”) Response
and Objection to the Motion for Attorney’s Fees [D.E. 187], Defendant’s Reply to
Plaintiff’s Response [D.E. 193], and the record in this case, the Court recommends
granting in part and denying in part Defendant’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees.1
I. BACKGROUND
Plaintiff holds the copyright to an unflattering photograph of himself which
Defendant published as part of highly critical blog articles she wrote about Plaintiff.
Plaintiff purchased the photograph only after he realized Defendant’s use of it in her

1

This Matter was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge by the
Honorable James Lawrence King. [D.E. 178].

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blog. Plaintiff’s purchase of the photograph was, from his perspective, to “stop this
atrocity” of Defendant using the picture in her critical blog. As explained by Magistrate
Judge Chris M. McAliley in her Report and Recommendation recommending granting
summary judgment in favor of Defendant:
Plaintiff is a businessman who testified that he considers the Photo
“ugly” and “candid and embarrassing.” He does not claim to be a celebrity
and does not claim Magriso’s (the original copyright holder’s) market as
his own. Not surprisingly, Plaintiff has not tried to sell or license the
Photo to anyone. Rather, Plaintiff testified that he obtained the
Assignment of Copyright “[b]ecause I wanted to stop this atrocity.”
(Plaintiff views the transfer of copyright as “a correction - correction of a
mistake that happened.”). He has not used the Photo other than in this
litigation, and has done so here to prevent its publication.
[D.E. 148 at 23-24] (internal citations omitted)
Plaintiff filed suit for copyright infringement against Defendant, asking the
Court to enjoin Defendant from further use of the Photograph. [D.E. 148 at 1]. The
Honorable James Lawrence King adopted the Report and Recommendation of Judge
McAliley which recommended granting summary judgment for the Defendant,
concluding: “that a reasonable trier of fact could reach only one conclusion: that
Defendant’s use of the photograph was fair, and did not constitute infringement.” [D.E.
167 at 2]. Judge McAliley based her conclusion on the fact that “Section 107 of the
Copyright Act expressly recognizes the unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted
material for the purpose of criticism and commentary, as fair use.” [D.E. 148 at 9].
Significantly, the Court found three of the four factors for deciding if a defendant’s use
of a work is “fair” were in Defendant’s favor, and the fourth factor was neutral. [D.E.
148 at 9-21]. As a result, the Court directed the Clerk to enter judgment in favor of
Defendant and to close the case. [D.E. 168]. On October 6, 2014, Defendant filed the

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present Motion requesting an award of attorney’s fees and non-taxable costs, pursuant
to 17 U.S.C. § 505, in the amount of $184,556.35. [D.E. 177].
II.
A.

ANALYSIS

Entitlement to Attorney’s Fees

Generally, under the “American Rule” in the United States, the prevailing party
in litigation may not collect its attorney’s fees from the losing party. Buckhannon Bd.
& Care Home, Inc. v. W. Va. Dep’t of Health & Human Res., 532 U.S. 598, 602 (2001).
Certain statutory exceptions, however, do exist that allow the prevailing party to
recover its fees. Id. In this case, Defendant as the prevailing party seeks to recover
under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 505, her reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for
defending against a copyright infringement suite. This statute authorizes an award
of fees and costs. However, in order for a prevailing party to receive fees, it bears the
burden of establishing entitlement to an award. See Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S.
424, 437 (1983).
1.

Copyright Act – 17 U.S.C § 505

Under the Copyright Act, courts may award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs
to the prevailing party in a copyright infringement claim. 17 U.S.C. § 505.2 The

2

The applicable section provides as follows:

In any civil action under this title, the court in its discretion may allow
the recovery of full costs by or against any party other than the United
States or an officer thereof. Except as otherwise provided by this title, the
court may award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party as
part of the costs.
17 U.S.C. § 505.

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Copyright Act gives the court broad discretion to determine whether a party is the
prevailing party and whether the amount of fees is reasonable. See Lieb v. Topstone
Indus., Inc., 788 F.2d 151, 155-56 (3rd Cir. 1986).3 However, an award for fees is not
mandated in every case. Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517, 526 (1986) (citing with
approval Lieb, 788 F.2d at 155). Even if the prevailing party seeks costs under Section
505, the Court has the discretion to limit or withhold any award.

Id. at 534.

Regardless of which side is the prevailing party, the Court should apply its exercise of
discretion evenhandedly to both plaintiffs and defendants: a finding of bad faith or
frivolity is not required for an award. Id. at 520-21. Where a defendant is the
prevailing party in a copyright case, the presumption in favor of awarding fees to the
defendant is very strong. See Lil’ Joe Wein Music, Inc. v. Jackson, 2008 WL 2688117,
at *4 (S.D. Fla. July 1, 2008).
2.

Factors under the Copyright Act to Determine Reasonable Fees

Courts should consider certain factors in determining whether or not the
prevailing party is entitled to fees. These factors include, but are not limited to, the
following: (1) the degree of success obtained; (2) frivolousness; (3) motivation; (4)
objective unreasonableness (both in the factual and legal components of the case), and;
(5) the need in particular circumstances to advance considerations of compensation and
3

Courts in this circuit also routinely recognize that an award of reasonable
attorney’s fees under Section 505 of the Copyright Act ultimately lies within the
discretion of the District Court. See, e.g., MiTek Holdings, Inc. v. Arce Eng’g Co., 198
F.3d 840, 842 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting Montogomery v. Noga, 168 F.3d 1282, 1303
(11th Cir. 1999)), aff’g, MiTek Holdings, Inc. v. Arce Eng’g Co., 864 F. Supp. 1568 (S.D.
Fla. 1994); Miller’s Ale House, Inc. v. Boynton Carolina Ale House, 2011 WL 855276,
at *1 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 9, 2011); Oravec v. Sunny Isles Luxury Ventures L.C., 2010 WL
1302914, at *3, (S.D. Fla. Mar. 31, 2010).

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deterrence. See Fogerty, 510 U.S. at 535 n.19 (adopting Lieb factors); see, e.g., Mitek
Holdings, Inc. v. Arce Eng’g Co., 198 F.3d 840, 842 (11th Cir. 1994). Fogerty does not
require the Court to weigh all of these factors. Indeed, “[t]here is no precise rule or
formula for making these determinations,” and courts should exercise equitable
discretion. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 436-37. The factors enumerated in Fogerty and Lieb
help guide a court’s discretion to award fees “so long as such factors are faithful to the
purposes of the Copyright Act.” Fogerty, 510 U.S. at 535 n.19.
In Fogerty, the plaintiff, Fantasy, Inc., was the holder of a copyright for a song
and brought an infringement action against the musician (John C. Fogerty) who
originally composed the song and the companies that distributed the song. Id. at 520.
After extensive discovery and motion practice, the copyright infringement went to trial,
and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants. Id. Fogerty, as the
prevailing party from trial, then moved to recover attorney’s fees under 17 U.S.C. §
505. Id. at 520-21. The District Court denied the motion, and the Court of Appeals
affirmed. Id. Due to a split among the circuits, Fogerty sought certiorari from the
United States Supreme Court on the issue of whether he was entitled to attorney’s fees
as the prevailing defendant below. Id.
The Court took the case and examined the language of Section 505 and the
purposes of the Copyright Act. Id. at 522-529. The Court found that a successful
defense of a copyright infringement action furthered the goals of the Copyright Act
and, upon the exercise of a court’s discretion, the defendant as the prevailing party
could be entitled to fees. Id. at 534. The Supreme Court remanded the case back to

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the District Court to determine, in its discretion, an appropriate, reasonable award.
Id. at 535.
On remand, Fogerty sought over $2 million in fees, costs, and interest in
connection with his successful defense on the infringement action. Fantasy, Inc. v.
Fogerty, 1995 WL 261504, at *1 (N.D. Cal. May 2, 1995).

In determining the

reasonableness of the fees sought, the District Court noted that the case took extensive
time and labor because the case went through several stages: to trial, to the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals, to the Supreme Court, and back to the District Court on
remand.

Id. at *3.

The parties had engaged in lengthy discovery, including

depositions, interrogatories, requests to produce and for admission, motion practice,
etc. Id. The case also involved new and complex issues in a specialized area of law.
Id. at *4. In seeking his award, Fogerty excluded fees and costs for unsuccessful claims
where possible, and the Court found that almost all of the fees Fogerty requested were
reasonable. Id. at *7-9. The Court did, however, reduce the total fee awarded by some
clerical errors and interest. Id. at *8 (noting that awarding interest is “clearly not the
norm, especially in context of fees awarded under the Copyright Act of 1976”). In total,
the District Court, in its discretion, awarded Fogerty over $1.3 million as reasonable
attorney’s fees and costs. Id. at *9.
With these principles and illustrations in mind, we turn to an examination of
each of the applicable factors under Section 505 to determine if a fee award is
appropriate here.

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(a)

Degree of Success Obtained

To be entitled to attorney’s fees under Section 505, Defendant must show that
she is the prevailing party. Defendant here prevailed on her Motion for Summary
Judgment against Plaintiff’s copyright infringement claim when the Court found
Defendant’s use of the photograph was fair and no reasonable jury could find
otherwise. Therefore, it is undisputed that Defendant is the prevailing party in this
matter because she received final judgment in her favor. This weighs heavily in favor
of granting Defendant’s attorney’s fees – especially given the presumption in favor of
awarding prevailing defendants’ fees in copyright infringement suits. In an abundance
of caution, this Court now moves on to consider the other Fogerty factors to weigh
Defendant’s entitlement to fees.
(b)

Frivolousness and Objective Unreasonableness

While the Fogerty case did not elaborate as to which entitlement factors are
deemed more or less important, the trend in this Circuit is for courts to focus on the
objective reasonableness factor when deciding whether to award attorney’s fees. See,
e.g., Jenkins v. Jury, 2009 WL 248232, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 2, 2009) (awarding
attorney’s fees to the defendant because, inter alia, there was a “lack of merit” in the
claims); Amadasun v. Dreamworks, LLC, 359 F. Supp. 2d 1367, 1375-76 (N.D. Ga.
2005) (awarding attorney’s fees to the defendant because, inter alia, the plaintiff
“[made] it impossible for the Court to conclude that Plaintiff ever subjectively believed
his positions were reasonable” and because there was a “lack of evidentiary support”
for the plaintiff’s claims); MiTek Holdings, Inc., 198 F.3d at 842 (encouraging parties

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to raise objectively reasonable claims and defenses in order to further the purposes of
the Copyright Act). The law in this Circuit also shows that “copyright protection for
an original work of authorship [does not] extend to any idea.” Baby Buddies, Inc. v.
Toys R Us, Inc., 611 F.3d 1308, 1316 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing 17 U.S.C. § 102(b); Harper
& Row Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enters., 471 U.S. 539, 556 (1985)) (emphasis added).
Section 107 expressly protects, as fair use, the unauthorized reproduction of
copyrighted material for the purpose of criticism and commentary. 17 U.S.C. § 107; see
also Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co., 268 F. 3d 1257, 1265 (11th Cir. 2001)
(“copyright does not immunize a work from comment and criticism”).
Plaintiff argues as an initial matter that his case was objectively reasonable at
the outset of the litigation. In support, Plaintiff states that because his claim survived
an initial motion to dismiss the court essentially certified his prima facie case, and
therefore it was reasonable to bring the suit. [D.E. 187 at 16]. While at one point
Plaintiff might have filed a prima facie case, that analysis does not include the fair use
doctrine defense. Only after a prima facie case was shown could Defendant move
forward with her fair use defense. During the process of discovery it became
abundantly clear this was the exact type of case Section 107 protects against.
Therefore, Plaintiff’s filing of a prima facie case is irrelevant given the
unreasonableness of his suit could only be shown after discovery.
As Judge McAliley recognized in her Report and Recommendation, no reasonable
fact finder could find for the Defendant. Plaintiff was privy to all the facts which led
to summary judgment in Defendant’s favor from the outset of the litigation. He was

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fully aware when he filed the suit that he had no intent to profit from his copyright,
nor was he a victim of any economic damages from Defendant’s use. The fact that the
Court found three out of four factors weighed in favor of Defendant and the other was
neutral clearly indicates that Plaintiff’s attempts to stymie Defendant’s speech are
precisely what Section 107 is designed to protect against.
During the more than two years that this litigation consumed, Plaintiff should
have at all times known his claim would eventually fail when the truth of his
motivations was eventually known. After Plaintiff’s lengthy attempts to improperly
quiet Defendant through this lawsuit, evident in his vigorous litigation of an improper
claim, this Court concludes that the objectively unreasonable factor strongly weighs
in favor of Defendant.
(c)

Motivation

The next Fogerty factor concerns Plaintiff’s motivation in pursuing his claims.
At least one court in this Circuit has also looked closely to the motivation factor to
determine entitlement to fees. See Lil’ Joe Wein Music, Inc., 2008 WL 2688117, at *7
(July 1, 2008) (finding that “the questionable motivation” of Plaintiff in bringing and
continuing the lawsuit is a factor that “militates in favor of” an award). Another court
outside of this Circuit has also looked to the improper motivation factor and stated that
if a Plaintiff has a losing cause yet continues to litigate, “there is no reason why the
discretion of the Court should not be exercised to award fees . . . .” Cohen v. Va. Elec.
& Power Co., 617 F. Supp. 619, 623 (E.D. Va. 1985).

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Here, it is crystal clear that Plaintiff’s motivations pursuing this lawsuit were
improper. Instead of using the law for its intended purposes of fostering ideas and
expression, Plaintiff obtained the photograph’s copyright solely for the purpose of
suppressing Defendant’s free speech. Unsurprisingly, Plaintiff argues that protecting
his rights under the Copyright Act was his sole motivation for filing this suit. [D.E. 187
at 13]. That assertion is rather dubious. Plaintiff has characterized this action as “just
one battle” in a “malicious war.” [D.E. 187 at 1]. While Plaintiff might view it
necessary to remove his unflattering picture to “stop this atrocity” [D.E. 148 at 23], he
may not resort to abusive methods to do so.
Plaintiff purchased the photograph taken of himself only after Defendant’s use,
then registered the copyright in an effort to prohibit Defendant from using the
photograph in her critical blog of Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed this action only to prevent
Defendant from using the photograph, and had no intention of marketing the
photograph. Essentially, as Judge McAliley found, Plaintiff had no purpose for
purchasing or copyrighting the photograph other than this litigation.
In this manner, Plaintiff attempted to use the Copyright Act for purposes wholly
unrelated to the law’s purpose of fostering the marketplace of ideas. For these reasons,
we find the motivation factor weighs heavily in Defendant’s favor.
(d)

Considerations of Compensation and Deterrence

The last factor from the non-exclusive Fogerty list concerns considerations of
compensation and deterrence. As the Supreme Court explained as to this factor,
“defendants who seek to advance a variety of meritorious copyright defenses should be

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encouraged to litigate them to the same extent that plaintiffs are encouraged to litigate
meritorious claims of infringement.” Fogerty, 510 U.S. at 527. In infringement cases,
courts should also seek to further the interests of the Copyright Act by either deterring
infringement or allowing public exposure to valuable works. Id.; see Mitek, 198 F.3d
at 842-43.
Here, the parties have already engaged in litigation for over two years, and now
Plaintiff is seeking reversal at the appellate level. Defendant has incurred fees and
costs to date of over $184,556.35. Because Plaintiff failed to support his pleadings,
continues to vigorously pursue a claim without any merits, in the face of meritorious
defenses, this Court recommends that awarding attorney’s fees to Defendant promotes
considerations of compensation and deterrence. To do otherwise would encourage
continued abuse of the Copyright Act as a tool for stymieing free expression.
Plaintiff counters that he should not be punished for pursuing his good faith
claims. Plaintiff, however, cannot use the Copyright Act to prevent fair use of his
picture. Plaintiff is responsible for the consequences of his decisions in the face of well
established legal principles that undermine his position.
Just as when plaintiffs succeed on their claims, a successful defense also helps
define the boundaries of copyright infringement law. It also continues to allow the
public to have access to creative elements and ideas. See Baby Buddy, Inc., 611 F.3d
at 1320. Under this last factor of compensation and deterrence, an award of attorney’s
fees furthers the goals of the Copyright Act and Fogerty by encouraging defendants to
pursue their meritorious defenses to copyright infringement claims.

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3. Conclusion after Weighing Factors to Determine Entitlement
As discussed above, it is the rule rather than the exception for a defendant as
the prevailing party to receive fees. See Lil’ Joe Wein Music, Inc., 2008 WL 2688117,
at *2. After carefully considering all of the Fogerty factors, Defendant should be
awarded attorney’s fees under Section 505 because all four factors weigh strongly in
favor of Defendant’s position: (1) Defendant was the prevailing party; (2) Plaintiff’s
case was objectively unreasonable; (3) Plaintiff’s motivation was improper, and; (4) an
award of attorney’s fees to Defendant will further deterrence and the goals of the
Copyright Act. This Court therefore concludes that Defendant is entitled to recover
reasonable attorney’s fees under Section 505.
B.

Amount of Attorney’s Fees

Having determined that Defendant is entitled to fees and costs, the Court must
next determine what amount is reasonable. The Supreme Court has stressed that the
determination of fees “should not result in a second major litigation.” Fox v. Vice, 131
S. Ct. 2205, 2216 (2011) (quoting Hensley, 461 U.S. at 437). Fee applicants must
submit appropriate documentation to meet “the burden of establishing entitlement to
an award.” Hensley, 461 U.S. at 437. “But trial courts need not, and indeed should
not, become green-eyeshade accountants. The essential goal in shifting fees (to either
party) is to do rough justice, not to achieve auditing perfection. So trial courts may take
into account their overall sense of a suit, and may use estimates in calculating and
allocating an attorney’s time.” Fox, 563 U.S. at 2216 (emphasis added).

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The existing settled law in this Circuit mandates calculating a reasonable
attorney’s fee by using the lodestar method, which requires this Court to multiply
counsel’s reasonable hourly rate by the reasonable hours expended. See Norman v.
Hous. Auth. of Montgomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1299 (11th Cir. 1988); Cuban Museum of
Arts & Culture v. City of Miami, 771 F. Supp. 1190, 1191 (S.D. Fla. 1991). Defendant
bears the burden of documenting reasonable hourly rates and reasonable hours
expended. See ACLU of Ga. v. Barnes, 168 F.3d 423, 427 (11th Cir. 1999); Norman,
836 F.2d at 1303.
1. Reasonable Hourly Rate
Defendant contends that her requested hourly rates are reasonable and fair to
defend this action. “A reasonable hourly rate is the prevailing market rate in the
relevant legal community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably comparable
skills, experience, and reputation.” Norman, 836 F.2d at 1299.
A reasonable hourly rate is one that is adequate to attract competent counsel in
the relevant legal market, but does not produce a windfall to that attorney. See Blum
v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 894-95 (1984).4 With respect to the issue of hourly rates, this
Court “is itself an expert on the question and may consider its own knowledge and

4

Blum involved efforts to recoup attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1988, not the Copyright Act. 465 U.S. at 888. But case law construing what
constitutes a “reasonable” fee applies uniformly across federal fee-shifting statutes that
employ this language, including the Copyright Act. See, e.g., City of Burlington v.
Dague, 505 U.S. 557, 562 (1992) (applying Blum and its progeny to fee awards under
Solid Waste Disposal Act and Federal Water Pollution Control Act); Kenna A. ex rel.
Winn v. Perdue, 547 F.3d 1319, 1338 (11th Cir. 2008) (applying Blum and specifically
listing the Copyright Act of 1976 under a “Partial List of Federal Statutes Providing
for the Prevailing Party To Recover a Reasonable Attorney’s Fee”).

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experience concerning reasonable and proper fees and may form an independent
judgment either with or without the aid of witnesses as to value.” Norman, 836 F.2d
at 1303. Several well-established factors may be considered in arriving at that
prevailing market rate as set forth in Johnson v. Ga. Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d
714, 717-19 (5th Cir. 1974).5
Generally, “the ‘relevant market’ for purposes of determining the reasonable
hourly rate for an attorney’s services is ‘the place where the case is filed.’” ACLU of
Ga., 168 F.3d at 437 (citing Cullens v. Ga. Dep’t of Transp., 29 F.3d 1489, 1494 (11th
Cir. 1994)). The relevant market for purposes of this case, therefore, is the South
Florida legal community. To arrive at a reasonable hourly rate in this legal market,
the “fee applicant bears the burden of establishing entitlement and documenting the
appropriate hours and hourly rates.” ACLU of Ga., 168 F.3d at 427 (quoting Norman,
836 F.2d at 1303). That requires that the applicant bear the burden of “supplying the
court with specific and detailed evidence from which the court can determine the
reasonable hourly rate.” Id. The Court reviewed the information and materials

5

The 12 Johnson factors are as follows:
(1) the time and labor required;
(2) the novelty and difficulty of the questions;
(3) the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
(4) the preclusion of other employment;
(5) the customary fee;
(6) whether the fee is fixed or contingent;
(7) the time limitations imposed by the client or circumstances;
(8) the amount involved and the results obtained;
(9) the experience, reputation and ability of the attorneys;
(10) the undesirability of the case;
(11) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client; and
(12) the awards in similar cases.

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submitted by Defendant’s counsel to determine the prevailing market rate in this legal
community for “similar services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skills, experience,
and reputation.” Norman, 836 F.2d at 1299.
Here, Defendant used the reputable and experienced law firms of Ben Kuehne
P.A., the Burton Firm, and Coffey Burlingtion to defend her case, and now seeks the
total amount of fees incurred through filing this motion. In support of the hourly rates,
Defendant relies upon the following: (1) the attorneys’ skills, experiences, and
reputations; (2) the general background and disposition of the action; (3) the work
performed and the expenses incurred in the action; and (4) the fact that Defendant’s
counsel have discounted their rates by requesting less than their normal attorney’s fees
for this case.
Defendant provided the following hourly rates and amount of hours billed for the
lawyers who worked on the case:
Attorney

Rate

Hours

Total Amt

M. Randazza

$500/hr

5.3 hrs

$2,650.00

J.M. Devoy

$325/hr

6.5 hrs

$2,112.50

Tucker (paralegal) $125/hr

0.5 hrs

$62.50

R. Kain

$187.50/hr

27 hrs

$5,062.50

D. Spielman

$137.50/hr

65.25 hrs

$8,971.88

Law Clerk

$75/hr

21.75 hrs

$1,631.25

D. Zack

$375/hr

126.1 hrs

$47,287.50

F. Tamayo

$250/hr

5.2 hrs

$1,300.00

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E. Handleson

$275/hr

19 hrs

$5,225.00

V. Pinto Villa

$150/hr

1.7 hrs

$255.00

Williams (paral.)

$90/hr

0.4 hrs

$36.00

B. Kuehne

$400/hr

115.8 hrs

$46,320.00

S. Dmitrovsky

$250/hr

2.4 hrs

$600.00

M. Davis

$200/hr

5.6 hrs

$1,120.00

R. Burton

$400/hr

72.05 hrs

$28,820.00

M. Burton

$200/hr

149.05 hrs

$29,810.00

623.6 hrs

$181,264.13

Totals

Plaintiff has contested the hourly rates of Defendant’s attorneys, with some
justification because the Court only has to award fees “necessary to secure reasonably
competent counsel” in the South Florida area. Orenshtyn v. Citrix Sys., Inc., 558 F.
Supp. 2d 1251, 1257 (S.D. Fla. 2007) (quoting Yahoo! Inc. v. Net Games, Inc., 329 F.
Supp. 2d 1179, 1183 (N.D. Cal. 2004)), vacated and remanded on other grounds, 341
Fed. App’x 621 (Fed. Cir. 2009); see Norman, 835 F. 2d at 1299.

As a result,

Defendant’s proposed reduced rates are a good starting point; but, the Court may
further reduce those rates if a lower amount of fees is reflective of what a reasonable
and competent lawyer charges in the community.
In total, having considered and weighed the evidence, counsels’ reputations and
experiences, and the Court’s familiarity with attorney’s fees in general, the
undersigned finds that the requested hourly rates of $200 - $400 for Partners David

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J. Zack, Benedict Kuehne, Richard Burton, and Marc Burton are certainly quite
reasonable and appropriate. The Court will approve these rates for purposes of
calculating the amount of reasonable fees.
2. Reasonable Hours Expended
The Court next evaluates Defendant’s requested fees for the reasonableness of
the total hours expended and billed by her respective counsel. See Norman, 836 F.2d
at 1301-02. A fee application must include accurate records of the amount of time
counsel spent on a particular case. See Hensley, 461 U.S. at 437. Defendant supports
her respective fee requests by submitting chronological bills and invoices. Plaintiff
generally opposes these requests and seeks to reduce or eliminate the fees and costs.
Due to the voluminous fee documentation and the large number of hours claimed, the
Court will not set out in this Report and Recommendation an hour-by-hour analysis
of more than two years of billing. Loranger v. Steirheim,10 F.3d 776, 783 (11th Cir.
1994); Villano v. City of Boynton Beach, 254 F.3d 1302, 1311 (11th Cir. 2011); accord
Trujillo v. Banco Central del Ecuador, 229 F. Supp. 2d 1369, 1375-76 (S.D. Fla. 2002).
Upon the Court’s independent review, the undersigned finds that the vast majority of
the fees incurred are quite reasonable, especially in light of Defendant’s attorneys
billing at a reduced rate. But we do so with one major reservation.
The major problem with Defendant’s request is the duplication of effort involved
in having thirteen lawyers and three paralegal/clerks contribute in large or small part
to the defense of the case. While there is nothing inherently unreasonable about a
client relying on multiple attorneys, the fee applicant must establish that the time

Case 1:12-cv-22211-JLK Document 199 Entered on FLSD Docket 05/06/2015 Page 18 of 20

spent reflects the distinct contribution of each lawyer to the case and is the customary
practice of multiple lawyer litigation. ACLU of GA., 168 F.3d at 432; see also Johnson
v. Univ. Coll. of Univ. of Ala. in Birmingham, 706 F.2d 1205, 1208 (11th Cir. 1983).
Here, based on the descriptions of the work performed by the various attorneys from
various law firms, this Court has found multiple attorneys billing for completing
essentially the same tasks. Many billing entries are for attorney conferencing with
other counsel of record. Due to the nature of the billing entries, the Court is not
persuaded that many of these conferences are not duplicative billing entries of
attorneys completing the same tasks. Defendant has provided little explanation or
justification for such duplicative charges. The Court must eliminate these redundant
and repetitive hours in the fee application keeping in mind that “the measure of
reasonable hours is determined by the profession’s judgment of the time that may be
conscionably billed and not the least time in which it might theoretically have been
done.” Norman, 836 F.2d at 1306.
Finally, we turn to the calculation of the adjusted number of hours that may be
awarded in this case. The Court usually has two options. The Court can decide to follow
the usual course of engaging in a task-by-task examination of the hours billed to excise
excessive or redundant/duplicative hours. E.g., ACLU of Ga., 168 F.3d at 429. Or, when
the number of hours involved is very high, the Court can conclude that an hour-by-hour
analysis is impractical. See Villano, 254 F.3d at 1311 (determining that 569.30 hours
submitted for compensation “are extensive enough that we do not expect the district
court or magistrate judge to conduct an hour-by-hour analysis in this case”; and
affirming twenty-five percent across the board reduction).

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Upon reviewing the record as a whole and the substantial number of hours
requested here, which exceeds 623 hours for partner, associate and paralegal time, the
Court readily concludes that a reduction of excess lawyers’ billing is most appropriate
to arrive at a reasonable fee amount in this case. Having conducted a line-by-line
sampling of time, the work of attorneys David J. Zack, Benedict P. Kuehne, Richard
J. Burton, and Marc A. Burton appears to be the bulk of the work conducted for
different tasks. Therefore, the Court’s review of the record reveals that awarding fees
for only these four attorneys will eliminate the duplicative and unnecessary billing,
and the reduction is both reasonable and necessary in order for the Court to meet its
obligation under the law – “to exclude from this initial fee calculation hours that were
not ‘reasonably expended.’” Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434.
3. Final Calculation of Reasonable Amount of Attorney’s Fees
With these considerations in mind, the Court finds that Defendant’s proposed
hourly rates are reasonable and generally appropriate for the requested fee application.
However, the Court finds that a reduction in attorneys is necessary in order to avoid
duplicative billing. The undersigned recommends that the requested $184,556.35 in
fees be reduced by $3,096.04 for unnecessary non-taxable costs,6 and an additional
$29,026.63 for duplicative billing of attorneys other than David J. Zack, Benedict P.

6

We find that mediation costs should not be awarded to a prevailing party
as part of Copyright Act Section 505 costs. See Oravec v. Sunny Isles Luxury Ventures,
L.C., 2009 WL 6337121, at *29 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 12, 2009) (citing Mota v. Univ. of Texas
Houston Health Sci., 261 F.3d 512, 530 (5th Cir. 2001)); Ivory v. Holme, 2009 WL
1185309, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 30, 2009). As such, we will deny the request for
mediation fees, but grant the $196.18 request for PACER and FedEx charges. No other
non-taxable costs may be added to the award.

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Kuehne, Richard J. Burton, and Marc A. Burton. Therefore, the total award for
attorney’s fees and costs under Section 505 should be $152,433.68.
III. CONCLUSION
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby RECOMMENDED as follows:
1.

Defendant’s Verified Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Non-Taxable Costs

should be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
2.

Defendant should recover from Plaintiff $152,433.68 in attorney’s fees.

3.

The Court should enter a fee and cost judgment, pursuant to Federal

Rules of Civil Procedure 58, for that amount.
Pursuant to Local Magistrate Rule 4(b), the parties have fourteen (14) days from
the date of this Report and Recommendation to serve and file written objections, if any,
with the Honorable James Lawrence King, United States District Judge. Failure to
timely file objections shall bar the parties from a de novo determination by the District
Judge of an issue covered in the report and bar the parties from attacking on appeal
the factual findings contained herein. R.T.C. v. Hallmark Builders, Inc., 996 F.2d
1144, 1149 (11th Cir. 1993); LoConte v. Dugger, 847 F.2d 745 (11th Cir. 1988); Nettles
v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404, 410 (5th Cir. Unit B 1982) (en banc); 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1).
DONE AND SUBMITTED in Chambers at Miami, Florida, this 6th day of
May, 2015.
/s/ Edwin G. Torres
EDWIN G. TORRES
United States Magistrate Judge

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